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The heart of tech

This article was published on May 6, 2013

    Meet BRCK, a piece of hardware that will bring you the Internet when all lights go out

    Meet BRCK, a piece of hardware that will bring you the Internet when all lights go out
    Alex Wilhelm
    Story by

    Alex Wilhelm

    Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

    When the Internet goes down, so too does modern life. Like it or not, having a connection to the Internet means that you can be informed, available, and part of the global conversation. Offline, you are just sitting there. Alone.

    Kickstarter project BRCK wants to make sure that no matter where you are in the world, you can be online. It’s a neat idea, and one that I support. The company’s motto explains the soul of the project: “if it works in Africa, it will work anywhere.” What it means by that is if the device brings Internet access to less developed part of the world, it will work in any other environment.

    The group is raising $125,000 to get the BRCK from prototype through the manufacturing process. Or, if the group hits its funding goal, BRCK will become a reality, bringing Internet to locations where it did not previously reach, or did not reach consistently.

    How does the device work? The team has a simple explanation:

    The BRCK works much the way your cell phone does, by intelligently and seamlessly switching between Ethernet, Wifi, and 3G or 4G mobile phone networks. By plugging in a SIM card or connecting to a wired or wireless ethernet connection the BRCK will automatically get online. Power is also redundant; if your AC power fails, BRCK falls back on its 8-hour battery without needing to be told.

    Given the reward levels that the team outlines, the final device should cost between $150 and $200 when it reaches general availability.

    The spreading of technology to places where it traditionally cannot reach is something that should be encouraged morally. It brings access to information and the global market to those for whom both are too often out of reach.

    Finally, here’s the perfectly-Kickstarter clip:

    Hat tip @Chadcat